Here is my 5V ESP8266-01 programming breakout board.
I am now programming the ESP8266’s via the Arduino IDE and I found using bread boards and wires was annoying, especially because I have a habit of VCC and GND mix up. I have a small pile of dead ESP8266-01s, dead due to shorting them while moving wires around. They are next to the pile of Arduino Nanos I have killed for the same reason.
Since starting to use the ESP8266’s again I have made a couple of breadboard friendly breakout boards. Version 1 worked but moving wires was inconvenient (the ESP8266 was in the way). Version 2 was better but I still had to mess with power, resistors and lots of wires. This lead me to version 3. A fully self contained programming breakout board.
Here with the ESP8266-01 and a LED attached. The LED is connected to GPIO 2. The jumpers above the red LED allow a 330 ohm resistor to be used. Move the jumper to the right hand side and the sockets are connected to GPIO 2 without the resistor.
The switch used to enter programming mode could be swapped out for a button switch.
The small power regulator can be swapped out and there is space on the board to add something like a LD1117V33 or a LM3940 and a couple of capacitors.
To bring the RX line down to 3.3v I am using a voltage divider made from a 1k ohm resistor and a 2k ohm resistor.